By: Joe Cardoso
Walking out of Capital One Arena after the Georgetown Hoyas defeated Howard University, I felt really good about this team and the upcoming season. Am I now disappointed with the season so far? No, not at all. Learning to close out games is a marathon, not a sprint. Two games into conference play, the Hoyas sit at 1-2, with loses to upstart St. John’s and a rebuilding Xavier basketball team. Now, it is not all doom and gloom. Some real bright spots have shown and you have to factor in that some key players have not been able to suit up for the team lately. We saw Mac McClung miss his 4th straight game with an ankle injury and Trey Mourning miss his 5th due to a concussion. Those are two guys who are keys to the team’s success and add a much needed scoring boost. I will continue to beat the drum about turnovers, and after Wednesday night’s game, the Hoyas are NOT the Golden State Warriors. Shooting 27 3’s is not the way to win for this team. Every game has been a dog fight and that is something to build on. Who is on the court and how they play at the end of games is one of my issues. Having no answer for Xavier’s inside game and cold shooting after the fantastic start, killed the lead and the game.
Saturday is a matchup against Providence, who is always a tough-nosed bunch and direct reflection of their head coach. Don’t let the 10-5 (0-2) record fool you, and hopefully McClung and Mourning will be back just in time to help. No team can afford to fall behind in conference play and the Big East is more competitive top to bottom than in years past. How much of this should fall on the shoulders of Patrick Ewing? I say he gets a pass for a couple of reasons, the first being he does not have his full roster. He is handcuffed into playing guys who he may not want to play and give more minutes to than he wants. On the flip side, this “next man up” approach will help with depth and that is a VERY good thing. The second reason is they are only three games into conference play. So everybody chill, the sky is not falling.
Now to the good stuff. Can we all agree that Greg Malinowski has been the pick up of the year? This kid shows us more and more of his game each time he steps on the court, from passing to the shooting and sneaky athleticism. At 6’6”, he can grab some boards as well. He has scored in double figures in each of his last three games and was named to the Big East Honor Roll coming off of the 26 pts at Butler and his play vs. St. John’s.
Jessie Govan has, as expected, been the rock and showcased some real range last night hitting on 3 of 5 from distance. You expect up and downs from freshmen and especially point guards. James Akinjo has been 7 for 27 from the field in his last three games. But he is still being aggressive and has made it to the line 24 times during that time, knocking down 82% of his attempts. This kid is a dog and you can see the electricity in him when the ball is in his hand. Keep track of how he plays moving forward.
If everyone suits up tomorrow, this will be a chance to see what this team really looks like. The coaching staff will have to make some adjustments with rotations and play calling, but that is something to get hype about. This team, as stated by EVERYONE on social media, is one that will cause heart issues, and that’s ok with me because my health insurance is pretty good.
Until next week, folks.
(All video is courtesy of www.MTCWithMook.com)